At its August meeting, the APA Council of Representatives received several task force reports on subjects of concern to members and that bring psychological knowledge to important public health and policy issues.
The report of the Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion, which found that there is no credible evidence that a single elective abortion, in and of itself, causes mental health problems in adult women.
The report of the Task Force on Resilience and Strength in Black Children and Adolescents, which called for a reframing of research, away from a nearly exclusive focus on risk factors and negative outcomes and to models that account for those factors that contribute to resilience in these youth.
The report of the Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice with Children and Adolescents, which cautions that children's mental health needs are too often undertreated and that these deficiencies will increase unless the health-care system changes the way it delivers care to children and adopts a more evidence-based approach.
The report of the Task Force on Gender Identity and Gender Variance, which called upon the profession to provide "appropriate nondiscriminatory treatment to all transgender and gender-variant individuals," while also citing the need for more and better research and training on transgender issues. In related action, the council adopted a resolution on transgender identity and expression. The resolution expressed APA's support for full equality for transgender and gender-variant people and called for the provision of adequate and medically necessary treatment for them.
The report of the 2007 Presidential Task Force on Institutional Review Boards and Psychological Science, which recommended ways to create more collaborative relationships between researchers and institutional review boards, including the creation of evidence-based policies and procedures that facilitate safe and ethical research while minimizing regulatory burden (the full report is available online).
The Board of Educational Affairs Task Force on Strengthening the Teaching and Learning of Undergraduate Psychological Science's final report "Teaching, Learning and Assessing in a Developmentally Coherent Curriculum," which among other conclusions, articulates the developmental sequence of learning outcomes across five domains of the undergraduate curriculum. (download the report).
In other action, the council:
Adopted the document Criteria for the Evaluation of Quality Improvement Programs and the Use of Quality Improvement Data, a move that will help practitioners deal with the emergence of pay-for-performance and quality improvement programs (see "Putting patients first"). The document, created by an APA work group, is designed to help psychologists evaluate quality improvement programs and to provide a framework for the creation of well-designed programs that improve quality of care while protecting the rights of patients and respecting the professional responsibilities of psychologists. The full text of the criteria is available online.
Approved funding for a 2009 presidential summit on the future of psychology practice, to be held May 14-17 in San Antonio, Texas, which will be attended by 150 practice leaders. The goal of the meeting is to develop a strategic plan for meeting the needs of psychology practitioners and the public they serve.
Approved a new mission statement for APA: The mission of the APA is to advance the creation, communication, and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives. This statement will be referenced as the APA Mission Statement and will appear on the APA Web site and other places where APA's mission statement is found. Article 1.1 of the APA Bylaws will remain unchanged and be referenced as APA's organizational purposes or "objects."
Approved funding for the sustained contribution of psychology to the World Health Organization's revision of the mental health chapter of the current International Classification of Diseases and Related Disorders (ICD-10). APA will support the effort through a contract with the International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS), which will retain a psychologist consultant to work on the core revision team at WHO. The IUPsyS consultant will be Geoffrey Reed, PhD, former APA Practice Directorate assistant executive director for professional development, and APA's principal representative to WHO's International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health system since 1995.
Approved a preliminary 2009 budget, which forecasts a surplus of more than $700,000.
Approved the election of 128 members as APA Fellows (see "APA fellows").
Approved two new division journals: Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice (Div. 14, Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology) and Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research and Practice (Div. 56, Trauma).